As dazzling as the pitching staff has been in the Miami Marlins ' wins this month, it has been fairly awful in the defeats.
Jacob Turner 's road struggles may mean the club is headed for more of the latter.
After the Marlins got another victory via shutout, Turner looks for the first road win of his career in the finale of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
Miami (45-73) owns the worst record in the NL and is 4-8 this month. The pitchers, however, have provided flashes of brilliance.
The staff has pitched shutouts in each of those four victories, including Tuesday's 1-0, 10-inning win over Kansas City (62-55). Opposing batters have hit .129 in those wins compared to .292 in the eight defeats while the Marlins have posted a 5.05 ERA.
Another dominant showing could make the Marlins the first team to post shutouts in five straight wins since the Los Angeles Dodgers did it June 27-July 9, 2011.
Giving the ball to Turner (3-4, 2.95 ERA) in Kansas City may not inspire much confidence since he's 0-7 in 11 career road starts. He does have a respectable 3.71 ERA in those games but hasn't been very good in losing the last four, giving up 13 runs and 23 hits in 22 innings.
The 22-year-old right-hander matched his career high by giving up three homers Friday in Atlanta, allowing all of the Braves' runs and walking three in a 5-0 loss.
"I just didn't make pitches," Turner told the team's official website.
He failed to do that for Detroit in his only meeting with the Royals on Sept. 1, 2011. Turner was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, not getting a decision in an 11-8 loss in just his second major league game.
He may gain some inspiration from Jose Fernandez 's gem Tuesday, when the 21-year-old phenom allowed three hits in seven innings.
Fellow rookie Christian Yelich , 22, is also having an impact since being recalled from Double-A Jacksonville last month. The left fielder had three hits Tuesday, including the go-ahead single, and has a .378 average in nine wins compared to .240 in 12 defeats.
The Royals are looking to re-establish themselves offensively after being limited to four singles Tuesday. They were batting .293 and averaging 5.0 runs while winning 17 of the previous 20 games.
Ervin Santana (8-6, 3.25) is scheduled to take the mound, and the Royals have won each of his last five starts. He's earned the win in three of them, but he's coming off his worst performance of the stretch.
The right-hander surrendered six runs and nine hits while hitting two batters in 3 2-3 innings of a 9-6 home win over Boston on Friday. He had a 1.27 ERA over his previous four outings.
Santana has lost both of his career starts versus the Marlins, with the most recent coming June 21, 2011, with the Los Angeles Angels .
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||15-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||60-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
|Kansas City Royals|
|August 13, 2013||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 11, 2013||Miguel Tejada||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|August 09, 2013||Lorenzo Cain||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 04, 2013||Salvador Perez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 04, 2013||David Lough||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
|August 04, 2013||Salvador Perez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Justin Ruggiano picked the scuffed-up ball off the carpet, smiled a toothy smile and proudly held it up for everyone to see in the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium.
A souvenir from his first career hit? Nope.
Just his first hit in a while.
Ruggiano snapped a franchise-worst 0-for-42 slump by hitting that ball for a single in the first inning Wednesday, and then added two more hits and drove in a run as the Miami Marlins beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 to wrap up a winning three-game series.
"It became a mental issue. I wouldn't wish that on anybody in the world," said Ruggiano, whose last hit came on July 12. "I'm just glad it's over with. Now I can get back to doing what I do."
Ruggiano drove in the Marlins' first run, but they still trailed 2-1 when Koyie Hill doubled off reliever Tim Collins (2-6) to start the seventh. Christian Yelich then hit a grounder toward third that utility man Elliot Johnson let through his legs to put runners on second and third.
Donovan Solano and Logan Morrison followed with RBI groundouts to give the Marlins the lead.
That was enough for the Marlins bullpen. Dan Jennings (2-3) got through the sixth, A.J. Ramos worked the seventh and eighth, and Steve Cishek handled the ninth for his 26th save.
Cishek struck out Alex Gordon with runners on first and second to end the game.
"This is a resilient group of guys," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "They keep coming back and battling, and I think you saw some big hits by guys out there."
Solano and Morrison each finished with a pair of RBIs for Miami.
"It's always good to go out there and play well against teams that are making a push for a playoff spot," Redmond said. "That's a good feeling heading home."
Indeed, the Royals were rolling when the series began. They'd won 17 of 20 after taking the opener to climb into playoff contention, but now limp off to play five games in four days against AL Central-leading Detroit with their first defeat in eight series.
Now, the Marlins have won two straight to finish off a long road trip.
The Royals, blanked 1-0 in 10 innings Tuesday night, got off to a good start when Eric Hosmer doubled in the first inning and eventually scored on a single by Salvador Perez .
The Royals failed to take advantage of the erratic Jacob Turner , though. The Marlins starter walked six without a strikeout in five-plus innings, but Kansas City could only squeeze out one more run against him on a groundout by David Lough in the fourth.
The Marlins got their first run when Ruggiano drove in Adeiney Hechavarria in the top half of the fourth. They were otherwise hamstrung by Royals starter Ervin Santana , who dodged eight hits and two walks over six innings to hand his bullpen the lead.
The Royals' relievers - with little help from their defense - failed to hold on. Johnson's error turned the game, Royals manager Ned Yost said, and eventually led to the go-ahead runs.
"In Elliot's defense, it was cue-ball shot with a lot of English. It had a lot of spin on it, it hit and then boom, it stayed down," Yost said. "It changed the whole complexion of the inning."
For his part, Johnson refused to make any excuses.
"We're in the middle of the hunt and they're not going to tolerate that sort of stuff. It seems like an easy play," Johnson said. "It wasn't as easy as it seems, (but) still I should have made it. I'm playing in the big leagues and you've got to make those kinds of plays."
Solano and Morrison tacked on run-scoring singles off Luke Hochevar in the ninth, and Cishek finished up for his 21st straight save, the third-best streak in the majors.
NOTES: The Royals acquired INF-OF Emilio Bonifacio from the Blue Jays for a player to be named or cash. They made space for him on the 40-man roster by transferring INF Miguel Tejada (right calf strain) to the 60-day DL. ... Johnson went 0 for 3 for the Royals, extending his slump to 0 for 30. He doesn't have a hit since July 6. ... Turner is still winless in 12 career road starts. ... The Marlins' previous four wins this month had been shutouts.